A CHURCH near Tenbury has undergone a massive transformation as part of an ambitious commemoration that will bring people from through the West Midlands to the area.

St Michael’s Church has been changed into a First World War battle ground as part of a reconstruction that has been worked upon for almost a year.

The area of the 160 year old Church near the pulpit has been turned into a replica of a front line trench and bi-planes from 100 years ago hang from the Lady Chapel.

Scattered around the Church are full size cut outs of all of the 21 men from the area who died in the war. Information about them can be found as part of an exhibition that will continue until Remembrance Sunday.

There are a total of 16 different exhibition areas with displays that would do credit to a professional museum.

Included in the exhibition are links to the Brownie movement that is also 100 years old and the WI that is 100 years old nationally and is marking 60 years in St Michael’s.

A special section will mark the contribution made to the war effort by women and the way in which their lives were changed including the influence of the suffragette movement. Women who worked as nurses as Kyre Wood that was a hospital for wounded soldiers are also recognised.

The story of the role that animals played in the conflict is also told with a life size replica war horse made by Anne Wallace that had to be taken to the church in a real horse box.

Hundreds of horses from Tenbury that would have been used working the land were requisitioned by the army for use in the war. This changed farming forever and by the time hostilities were over horse power of a different kind with mechanical tractors had started to take over.

The role played by other animals is also told at St Michael’s including dogs that were used to test if land had been mined and was safe for soldiers.

Birds were also used to carry messages from the front line.

A section of St Michael’s Church is given over to memorabilia that includes letters and postcards as well as items of clothing.

It is hoped that the exhibition that will be open every day for six weeks will attract visitors not just from the local area but also from throughout the West Midlands.

A number of school trips are planned as part of the education programme. Students from the adjacent St Michael’s International College are also displaying work to tell the story of how the Great War was a global conflict.

On Saturday evening (October 4) there will be a concert of music and poetry from the time and on Sunday a special Harvest Festival Service is planned.

Money raised from these events and the exhibition will be divided between The Royal British Legion, Canine Partners – a charity that provides companion and assist dogs for injured servicemen and women and Combat Stress that works to help members of the forces with mental health problems.